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If you are a feminist, a lot of brickbats come your way everyday from the people at large. But, a true feminist is the one who continues to speak for the cause and march on!
Being a feminist in a society like India is like being one step away from landing in jail. It is not just about dealing with jerks on a regular basis, but controlling the urge to punch them right away.
During my early years, I used to loathe the word ‘feminist’ believing it is indeed a problematic word to describe equality. I championed myself as anyone who battles for equality but not a feminist.
I have somehow always believed that inequalities will die a natural death if we don’t acknowledge it and we need to just mind our business believing there is no inequality- Just as cancer is supposed to be cured by itself with a positive mindset, devoid of thoughts of the disease and sans medication of course.
Luckily I am past such ignorance now. Thanks to the movie ‘Lajja’ for teaching me the most important life lesson, “Denial of discrimination is never a solution”.
All my life I have been a feminist, knowingly or unknowingly. But even when my understanding of feminism grew, I was a closet feminist for the next stages in my life.
Coming out as a full-fledged feminist was never a cake walk. I had to deal with snowflake men who left no stone unturned to display their insecurities at the drop of a hat.
I remember posting about Nirbhaya Rape issue, abusing the rapists. The next day my colleagues were like “Not all men are like that”.
I was gobsmacked, that they themselves believe all men are rapists, which is why they cared to clear something I never implied but, they only inferred. Initially, I used to avoid any such conversation pertaining to my feminist Facebook posts, but, gone are those days.
There is one guy who yells, “Here comes the feminist”, even before I say anything at all. These guys made me come out of my closet easily. I started liking the attention and used it to my own good. But the trickiest part is escaping the out of nowhere asinine arguments they level against valid ones. It was as if they were entitled to argue with me whenever and wherever some anti-feminist thoughts pop up in their mind.
Like, I would be minding my goddamned business and someone will come and ask “Why is dowry wrong but not the girl’s family demanding a well-settled guy?”
First of all, people need to understand that Indian arranged marriages are just business deals. It is a deal where every Tom, dick and Harry roots for their own deals. The relatives want the community column to be checked, the bride’s side want the groom’s standard checked and the groom’s side want whatever the f#@k they want to be checked.
While all are correct and wrong as per various perspectives and standards, it is the dowry that has a long heritage of killing people (read – only women) and is an illegal practice. No woman has beaten her husband to death to become bloody rich. While all other deals are “Take it or leave it”, only dowry is “only give it”
It is true that women too need to come out of this patriarchal mindset. No second thoughts. But holding only them accountable and men comfortably hiding behind them to justify doing nothing when in a ‘can-do-anything-I-want’ position is beyond sick.
There are times when guys keep sending annoying memes and screenshots to prove feminism is a cancer. It is as if it is my utmost duty to give valid reasons acceptable by them whenever their MRA hormones are on full throttle. There is a group that constantly tries to bait me into draining arguments that lead to nowhere.
As if it is not enough, there are people who grate on my nerves. I had a colleague in my PG (Mind you! I was in a part-time course where working professionals of different age groups are in the same class) who doesn’t have a problem publicly asking me “Why do you want to study PG, when all you are going to do is stir pots in the home?”
It was beyond me to control my rage. While the answers I gave him are secondary, my primary thoughts are on how people entertain such thoughts in their mind, let alone asking this in public! He has a wife who works as a nurse and 2 daughters in school. I can only hope that he doesn’t ask the same questions to his daughters.
I work in a medium-sized company where I am the only woman. Team lunches and dinners are full of topics on politics as we are a collaboration of different Indian states.
All is well until someone brings up the Sabarimala verdict. It is always akin to waging a lone battle against everyone who has no problem openly saying that women are impure and can’t enter the sanctum of a temple. It is in those testing times that I have always felt very proud of myself for never giving up despite the number of morons to be dealt with.
There are times I had wanted to give up on everybody. It seems like a pointless battle where everyone just wants to win at the cost of a women’s self-respect. There were times I have died so many silent deaths hearing labor room talks, so discriminatory despite the degrees and social status my acquaintances hold. All the celebrations and congratulatory messages evidently point out it could not be the same for a girl and boy. You can keep on telling people that it doesn’t matter whether it is a girl or a boy, but beyond a point it becomes meaningless.
Also, at times when a few women themselves fall into the trap of patriarchy finding solace in the inequality and justifying it, it hurts way too much. In such cases, I can see myself not fighting back as much as I do with guys on the same matters concerned. After all, patriarchy is not just limited to men.
My mind traces the memory of the scene in ‘Made in Heaven’ where Kabir finishes in style saying “From the outside it looks as if it is your (women) selfishness, but, when looked deeper it is the society’s selfishness that kept you from not realizing your own worth.”
Despite all the hatred and negativities bestowed upon for being a feminist, it is the sense of satisfaction for living for a cause and holding my head high for the principles I behold is what keeps me moving. When people are really rational enough to say that they are convinced and would like to change their stand after an argument, it is really worth a million battles won. It may take time but surely we will be there one day.
Image Source: YouTube/Raanjhana
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Wannabe optimist. Argumentative. Dangerously impulsive. Expert idiot. Yet a spirited versatile.
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